As you journey through the summer with me you know I’ve been talking about loving your gut. In Chinese medicine summer is the month of the small intestine. Keeping my gut in optimal condition helps me maintain my natural weight and feel energized daily. It’s the reason I do the Summer Nourishing Foods Cleanse. Summer is the perfect time to welcome this deep cleanse and give your small intestine a little loving.
If your small intestine is not working well, you won’t be properly nourished even if you are eating the perfect diet.
Reserve your spot for the Nourishing Foods Summer Cleanse – Revitalize Your Small Intestine scheduled for the week of Aug 21 and join me in paying some due respect to the root of your health.
Click here to get more information and sign up.
Right now before the cleanse begins is the perfect time to bring in a refreshing summer food that nourishes your insides and enlivens your taste buds. Can you guess what that is?
This gut-loving ingredient might be growing in your garden.
You’ve probably used it to soothe your tummy in the past.
Peppermint grows like a weed in the warm summer months.
You don’t have to stick with just plain peppermint. There are many different species of mint. Sometimes you can find fun varieties like orange, lavender, ginger, pineapple and even chocolate mint. These are actual varieties not fake flavorings.
When it comes to gut support peppermint is very powerful for helping relieve symptoms of IBS, cramps and stomach pain. Research shows peppermint acts through a specific anti-pain channel called TRPM8 to reduce pain sensing fibers, which is why it’s so effective in relieving stomach pain.
Clinical trials generally use enteric-coated peppermint capsules but I prefer to play with fresh peppermint leaves instead of supplements. (see recipes below).
Just the smell of peppermint activates the salivary glands and starts the secretion of digestive enzymes, helping to facilitate digestion. That’s why you’ll often see mint included in salads or appetizers.
Peppermint has been used in traditional cultures to help relieve nausea, motion sickness or other stomach problems. I like to keep peppermint tea in my pantry to soothe my stomach. Sometimes I pair it with ginger for extra digestive support.
Note of awareness: Some studies show peppermint can relax the LES (lower esophageal sphincter), the valve between your stomach and esophagus, which can be a contributing factor to heartburn. If you suffer from heartburn, be cautious with peppermint. That’s not to say that it’s not right for you but you’ll want to bring peppermint in slowly to see how your body responds to it.
Peppermint also helps freshen your breath. While that might not help with digestion directly, it certainly keeps your mouth and the people you come in contact with happy.
There are many ways to have fun with peppermint:
- Drink peppermint water all summer long as a delicious, refreshing beverage to support your gut. (see recipe below)
- Add a handful of fresh peppermint to your smoothie (it complements just about any fruit)
- Chop fresh peppermint and add it to roasted veggies, green salads, fruit salad, dressings and soups
- Add a drop of peppermint essential oil (therapeutic grade) to your water or tea
- Add a few leaves to nori rolls for a bright fresh taste
- Make peppermint tea by muddling fresh mint and steeping in hot water or purchase peppermint tea bags
- Grow your own; it’s especially happy outside during the warm summer months (just keep it away from other herbs, because it’ll overtake them) and it grows well inside on a sunny windowsill all winter long.
Recipes with Peppermint
½ gallon filtered water
1 small bunch of mint leaves about 1 cup
- Bruise the mint leaves with a wooden spoon and place
into a glass jar or pitcher. I use a large jar and keep it covered in the refrigerator
- Add the water
- Put into the refrigerator for at least 2 hours
- Pour water through a strainer every time you want a
refreshing, healing drink
- It keeps in the refrigerator for about 1 week
How great is mint ice cream in the summer? This recipe is relatively easy to make and you don’t even need an ice cream maker.
This is a simple salad of chopped vegetables, mint and lots of fresh parsley, all tossed together with lemon juice and olive oil.
Earthy beets with a dressing of toasted cumin, honey, and lime juice and a generous garnish of fresh mint.
A light, bright, satisfying dish with lots of vegetables and herbs including mint.
Support your digestive system this summer with fresh mint. Bring some additional gut healing to your body by joining us for the Nourishing Foods Summer Cleanse. Your gut will thank you and you’ll feel light and energized all year long.